Romano R-80, R-82
|TRAINER, AEROBATIC AIRCRAFT||Virtual Aircraft Museum / France / Romano|
The Romano R-80.01 first prototype was a private venture by Etienne Romano, and was designed to provide an aerobatic two-seat biplane for company pilot Lemoigne to demonstrate at air shows. Tested in early 1935, it was also flown with great success by Michel Detroyat. Its design features included the provision of ailerons on both wings, robust divided landing gear, and a 179kW Lorraine 7Me radial engine in a NACA cowling. After testing also by the official STAe, the R80.01 then gave many aerobatic shows with Lemoigne at the controls.
In response to official suggestions, R-80.02 with the more powerful Salmson 9Aba engine was first flown in March 1936 and exhibited at the Paris Salon de I'Aeronautique of that same year. It incorporated changes already made on the aerobatic prototype, including ailerons on the lower wings only and a fin of increased area. Intended as a two-seat dual-control intermediate trainer, it was soon redesignated R-82.01. Two further protoypes were built, both of them being sold to private owners, one of them the well-known aviatrix Lucienne Saby.
Meanwhile, Romano had become part of the nationalised SNCASE and Michel Detroyat became Inspector of Flying Equipment for all the nationalised companies. On the latter's urging, large orders were placed by the state for R-82 trainers for the Armee de I'Air. In the event, the total of production aircraft was 147, to which was added a further 30 ordered in 1937 by the Aeronavale. Series trainers featured a number of refinements and some simplifications, the principal external change being the introduction of a long-chord engine cowling.
By 1 August 1939 70 R-82s had been taken on charge, and all 177 series aircraft had been delivered by May 1940. The R-82 have excellent service with the Armee de I'Air and Aeronavale, largely equipping the Centres d'lnstruction and Ecoles de Pilotage.
In February 1938 two R-82s were purchased by a French intermediary company and ferried to Spain, where they were used for training and liaison duties by the Republican government fighting the Nationalist forces. It is uncertain whether these were new aircraft or machines taken from Armee de I'Air contracts.